1925Workbench is a family business founded by husband and wife team Rock Huynh and My Le Nguyen in 2012. Their origin story comes from transformative personal experiences.
Written by Anna Cipollone
A maker studio created by husband-and-wife design team Rock Huynh and My Le Nguyen, 1925Workbench began with a necessity to thoughtfully renovate their Bloor West Village home, along with the passion to do it themselves. Today, the former IT engineer and nurse operate their west end studio full-time, specializing in barn door hardware, custom furniture and doors.
“It’s difficult to group us: we’re not craftspeople, or designers, or a particular trade,” says partner My Le Nguyen. Preferring to exist in a category all their own, the two are self-proclaimed ‘design makers’ who build and manufacture beautiful hardware, doors, furniture and custom woodwork. “We love that we wake up knowing we’ll be doing something exciting every day,” says Nguyen.
And though some of these project builds are complex and l arge-scale, each posing their own challenges, there’s a pervasive feeling of play within their boutique studio. “Everything that goes on in our studio is fully under our control, and we have the freedom to change and adjust to suit whatever the design.” Their special hardware–invented by partner Rock Huynh–and designed and made in Toronto, the Single Track bypass allows two doors to use the same track instead of the traditional double track system.
Beyond the functional needs of dividing a space, and making boundaries between rooms, doors are large-scale enough that their thoughtful consideration, and the addition of colour and careful aesthetic can shift the entire ambience of the space and its interiors. “We love to see how our work transforms the spaces where people live and work,” she says. “When you put a handcrafted wood or metal door in a space, not only does it speak to the materiality, and the human hand that created it, it contains an element of the unexpected within its function as a practical piece that slides or opens,” she explains. “It’s like putting up a piece of art.”
We spoke with My Le Nguyen to get her take on five of our favourite door design projects handcrafted by 1925Workbench.
1. Grey chevron door
“This was a condo project where we were given complete creative freedom. The entry closet was typical with two thin builder grade doors so we opted for one large door painted in Benjamin Moore Nightingale. I love light grey with brass, so we used our Brassy Beau Top Mount hardware for it.”
2. Pink Church House Doors
“The client asked us to replicate the old doors but add glass, and paint it a fun colour. And that’s exactly what we did! That was the first major reno they did to their church house and it was just so exciting for us.”
3. Curvy black entry door
“Our signature curvy black door, originally designed and made for our own studio, was translated into an entry door as the client liked it a lot. The client’s home was once a rectory, so in keeping with the period of the house, the door seemed as though it had always belonged.”
4. White doors with brass hardware
“The client wanted to do something about her awkward den in the middle of her house–and our Single Track Bypass seemed to be the perfect solution. Inspired by our signature curvy black
door, her den required a similar large-scale design. With a fancy, brass finish, this den becomes a jewellery box, in a way.”
5. 1925Workbench Studio’s rustic doors
“The doors are made of authentic barn board– something you often see today. We believe if it is used thoughtfully, it is still as beautiful as ever. This shows the use of our Single Track Bypass to cover an opening that looked through to a more private space. We just love the organic and crafted environment.”
For more information on 1925Workbench please visit www.1925workbench.com
All images by My Le Nguyen. Pink church doors by Laurel Munro
Portrait by Janet Kimber